Honouring and Empowering..

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Photo  L-R:  2019 Awardees –  Kimberley Wilde, Shakila Rathnayake, Taylah Thompson and Paris McNeil

The August Awards Night reminded members of why they are in Zonta.  Over sixty Zontians (from the Zonta Clubs of Perth, Bunbury, Swan Hills and Perth Northern Suburbs), friends and family members gathered to celebrate the achievements of four special women:

  • Paris McNeil – Zonta International Young Woman in Public Affairs Award – Zonta Club of Perth Awardee 2019
  • Shakila Rathnayake – Zonta International Women in Technology Scholarships – Zonta Club of Perth Awardee 2019
  • Kimberley Wilde – Zonta Club of Perth Education Awardee 2019
  • Taylah Thompson – Zonta Club of Perth Yvonne Burgu Education Awardee 2019

These women generously shared their stories and enthralled us with their achievements and aspirations.   Paris is a role model for advocacy – a teenager walking the talk of seeking social justice and Shakila is working on the cutting edge of geospatial technology, planning for a more sustainable world.   Kimberley and Taylah exemplified resilience in adversity, both turning their lives around through hard work, determination and education.  We were all touched, moved and inspired by their presentations – they all spoke from the heart and expressed their gratitude to Zonta for helping them on their journeys.

Brianna Ozies, the 2018 Yvonne Burgu Education Awardee provided a moving Acknowledgement of Country and also presented the 2019 Yvonne Burgu Education Award to Taylah Thompson.  Yvonne Burgu was ‘auntie’ to Brianna – so it was very fitting for Brianna to ‘pass on the baton’ to this year’s winner.

The club was honoured to have a team of ‘high ranking’ Zontians to present the other awards:

  • Zonta International Director Judy Gorton provided a fascinating account of life on the International Board and presented the Young Woman in Public Affairs Award to Paris McNeil.
  • Area 3 Director Faith O’Brien, who works in a science based industry, presented the Women in Technology Award to Shakila Rathnayake.
  • District 23 Lt Governor, Sandra Burns, a former teacher, presented the Education Award to Kimberley Wilde.

It was a busy night as, in addition to the presentation ceremonies, two Centennial Projects were ‘launched’:

  • the Alumnae project aims to contact the 140 women who have been presented with awards in the Club’s 47 year history.  This is a work in progress as many awardees have moved interstate and overseas.  The four previous awardees in attendance,  Sharon Turner, Tracey Fickling, Emmelyn Wu and Brianna Ozies each provided a spontaneous update on what had been happening in their lives since they received their awards – a wonderful group of inspirational women;
  • the Centennial Edition of the History of the Zonta Club of Perth provides an update to the club’s history from 2012.  The last seven years have been added to the book and this evening it was ‘soft launched’ – meaning that the proof copy presented by Club President Carole Theobald to Club Archivist ‘Tricia Summerfield, will be updated to include this evening’s awardees.  The Ebook version of the book will be free, and donations to the Zonta Internataional Centennial Endowment Fund will be encouraged.

We would like to thank the Zontians who had come from the Zonta Clubs of Bunbury, Swan Hills and Perth Northern Suburbs for helping to make the Awards night a very special occasion in this centennial year of Zonta International.

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Photo:  Zontians, awardees, family and friends at the Zonta Club of Perth Awards Night 2019

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